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Assessing the Effectiveness of Interfaith Initiatives


‘Assessing the Effectiveness of Interfaith Initiatives’ is the first study to analyze the effectiveness of interfaith initiatives. Taking a primarily inductive approach to the research design, this project investigates if and how interfaith initiatives generate changes in the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of participants and the faith communities to which they belong in three cities: Doha, Delhi, and London. The choice these cities is specifically designed to enable us to analyze the impact of interfaith initiatives across three very distinctive political, demographic, and historical contexts with regard to interfaith relations. The distinctiveness will facilitate distinguishing generalizable versus context-specific impact generated by initiatives.

The aim of this study is to provide data on effectiveness through comparing the impact of two organizational models of interfaith initiatives (‘leader-led’ and ‘grassroots’) across and within the three locations. This comparison will allow for distinguishing between generalizable processes of change. The study as a whole will in turn allow us to propose a novel, transferable, evidence-based framework for designing and evaluating interfaith activities and will inform recommendations for policy strategies.

Dr Edward Kessler MBE,
Founder Director, Woolf Institute
Fellow, St Edmund’s College
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

+44 (0) 1223 741 834

Dr Edward Kessler MBE is an authority on the relationship between religion and society.  He is  Founder Director of the Woolf Institute, a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and a leading thinker in interfaith relations, primarily, Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. In 2007, Dr Kessler was described by The Times Higher Education Supplement as ‘probably the most prolific interfaith figure in British academia’ and was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to interfaith relations.

He is a prolific author, having written or edited nine books and dozens of articles. Dr Kessler’s most recent book is entitled Jews, Christians and Muslims (SCM, 2013) and a new book on Jesus is due to be published in 2016. Other publications include Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Sacrifice of Isaac (Cambridge University Press, 2004) which was called a ‘landmark in Jewish-Christian Relations’ by the former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations(Cambridge University Press, 2005) which Lord Williams, Master of Magdelene College and former Archbishop of Canterbury, has called ‘an invaluable guide to Jewish-Christian Relations’. In 2006, What do Jews Believe? was published by Granta Publications and has been translated into 6 languages. In 2010, Cambridge University Press published An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations.


Dr John Fahy
Junior Research Fellow


John Fahy joined the Woolf Institute as a Junior Research Fellow in November 2015. Based in Qatar, he is part of the QRNF funded project assessing the effectiveness of interfaith initiatives in Doha, Delhi and London. This project aims to better understand how both grassroot and leader-led interfaith initiatives can be assessed in terms of effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Fahy’s PhD at the University of Cambridge was in Social Anthropology. His research focused on an international community of Krishna devotees (popularly known as the ‘Hare Krishnas’) in Mayapur, West Bengal. Framed by the anthropology of ethics, he looked at how devotees pursue ideals of self-fashioning and world-making in the context of unprecedented urban development.

Social Development Forum Lecture

August 31, 2015

Venue: Seminar Hall 1&2, Kamala Devi Block, India International Centre, New Delhi.

The Social Development Forum of Council for Social Development, in association with the Institute of Chinese Studies, organised a lecture by Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India. Dr Subramaniam spoke on, Dealing with the Rise of China: What Should the World and India Do?